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Architecture, Design and Construction Interdisciplinary Team Awarded Largest HUD Grant in Auburn University History


Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction has been awarded a $635,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, to develop housing solutions for people with disabilities and with aging in place. This is the largest HUD grant ever awarded to Auburn University and the first in over a decade.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to work with HUD on this research collaboration and to engage the challenges and opportunities surrounding housing affordability and accessibility, said principal investigator Justin Miller, chair of the Architecture program at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.

The project outcomes will include housing design solutions and prototypes, applications and smart home technology design and policy and implementation guidelines, as well as instruction manuals for anticipated stakeholders. It extends longstanding, ongoing work by faculty in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, or CADC, that engages issues related to assistive technologies and affordable and accessible housing in rural and urban environments.

Faculty from all three schools in CADC are involved in the project, as well as faculty from the College of Education’s Center for Disability Research and Policy Studies, or CDRPS, and an industry partner, Smart Solutions/Smart Home Automation. An advisory panel for the project is comprised of representatives from organizations including AARP, Volunteers for America, Habitat for Humanity, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Accessible Alabama and Home Builders Association of Alabama.

The project team is made up of Miller and co-principal investigators Rusty Smith, associate director of the Rural Studio program; Wesley Collins from the McWhorter School of Building Science; and Christine Fleming, director of CDRPS. Other team members include David Hill, chair of the Landscape Architecture program, and Jerrod Windham and Shu Wen Tzeng, faculty from the Industrial Design program in the School of Industrial and Graphic Design. Project coordination and facilitation will be provided by CADC Associate Dean for Research Karen Rogers and Kandell Malocsay in the CADC Office of Research and Grants.

“This transdisciplinary team of Auburn researchers is uniquely positioned to assist HUD in addressing the complex issues related to the design and construction of affordable, sustainable, accessible housing for people with special needs and circumstances,” said CADC Dean and McWhorter Chair Vini Nathan. “The expected outcomes of this project have the potential for transformative impact in this domain.”

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